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The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

Do You Know When To Use Ice Or Heat To Treat Your Back Pain?

Posted by Illinois Back Institute on Tue, Nov 07, 2017 @ 05:08 PM

ice_and_back_pain1-6.jpgDo you know when to use ice or heat to treat your back pain? Many people choose incorrectly when trying to ease their pain, so read these tips below to make sure you are using each of these the correct way!

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Using ice to ease your back pain.

If you feel acute pain after an activity like jogging, golf, or throwing a baseball, make sure to use ice! Acute back pain is very common and begins suddenly. It is defined as pain lasting less than 3 to 6 months, or pain that is directly related to tissue damage. After 6 months the underlying cause for the acute pain has been treated or healed.

Ice and cold packs can relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation from injuries. There are a few different ways you can use ice to relieve the pain, here are some examples:

  • Purchase a common cold pack sold at most convenient stores
  • A bag of ice
  • A bag of frozen vegetables
  • Homemade ice towel:
    • Take a towel and place it in cold water. Then squeeze the towel until it is damp, fold it, place it in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer. After 15 minutes remove the towel from the bag and place it on the area of pain.
  • Homemade ice pack:
    • Measure out 1lb of ice and place in a plastic bag and add water to the barely covered ice. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it. Wrap the bag in a wet towel & apply to area of pain.
  • Homemade slush pack:
    • Mix 3 cups of water and 1 cup of denatured alcohol in a freezer bag. Then seal the bag and place it in the freezer until slush forms. You can reuse this when it melts by putting it back in the freezer.

Icing is effective because it limits pain and swelling that may result from injury due to a physical activity. Icing constricts the blood vessels and reduces inflammation as well. Always keep a damp cloth between the cold pack and your skin. Make sure to press firmly against all the curves in the area of pain. For the first 3 days, ice for 10 minutes once an hour the first day, then every 2 to 3 hours. After that, a good pattern to go by is to ice for 10 to 15 minutes 3 times a day: in the morning, in the late afternoon after work or school, and about a half hour before bedtime.

Using heat to ease your back pain.

When suffering from chronic back pain make sure to use heat to ease the pain. Chronic back pain is when pain doesn’t go away but doesn’t get worse. Pain that remains for weeks, months even years. Heat treatment helps relax and loosen tissues, and stimulate the blood flow to the area of pain. Use heat on conditions like overuse injuries, before participating in activities. Here are a few ways to ease your pain with heat:

  • Heating pad:
    • Make sure NOT to fall asleep with the heating pad on! Also, keep it on low or medium try to avoid making it too hot.
  • Warm showers
  • Hot tub or bath
  • Heat wraps
  • Warm gel packs


Remember to apply heat for only 15-20 minutes at a time!


At the Illinois Back Institute we strive to educate people as much as possible about their back, neck, and sciatica pain, because it has been proven that the more people know about their pain the more likely they will be to get rid of it!

Our 9 Step Solution specializes in treating the causes of back pain and sciatica. Are you ready to put an end to your pain? Schedule a Free Consultation by calling us at 844-408-0462 or click here!


Also, if you would like to learn more about your back, neck, and sciatica pain and how to eliminate it, we are holding a LIVE Back Pain and Sciatica Relief Webinar on Wednesday at Noon! Just click on the link below for information on how to register for the Webinar:

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Disclaimer: The content on this web site is for information purposes only and should never be used as the basis for diagnosis or treatment. We always recommend consulting a qualified professional before embarking on any form of self treatment or rehabilitation.

All content is protected by the usual copyright laws and cannot be used, stolen or reproduced for any purpose without Illinois Back Institute permission. Please feel free to call about anything although we are unable to give advice on any specific injuries or conditions over the phone.